Hip Check - Congenital Dislocated Hip (CDH)

Babies born in Taranaki over the last thirty years have had their hips examined for CDH by an Orthopaedic Specialist. Mr Hadlow and Mr Lynskey examine all babies at Base Maternity with clinics twice a week. Weekly clinics by the visiting Orthopaedic Surgeon are held for babies born at Hāwera.

Congenital dislocation of the hip is a displacement of the femur (top of the thigh bone), out of the acetabulum (the hip socket). This occurs during pregnancy.

Shortly before a full term birth, there is an increase in the maternal hormone, oestrogen, to help the mother’s ligaments relax in preparation for the baby’s birth. This female hormone crosses the placenta and may cause the baby’s hip ligaments to be lax also. This is one of the reasons that CDH is more common in baby girls. The incidence of congenital hip dislocation is ten times more common in girls than boys.

There is sometimes a family tendency towards CDH and it appears to be more common in some European ethnic groups.

Babies lying in the breech position before and during birth are more likely to have a congenital dislocated hip.

At birth some baby’s hips are unstable, but not dislocated. These usually stabilise at about a week.

It is more common for both hips, or just the left hip to be dislocated. Very few babies have a dislocated right hip only. It is important that CDH is recognised and treated before the baby’s ligaments ‘set’ with the hip in the wrong position.

Sometimes a baby’s hip will appear lax at the hip check, and you may be asked to come back for a re-check in one week.

If CDH is diagnosed in newborn babies, treatment in a splint for eight weeks will usually correct the condition with no further problems.

Clinic Times:

Monday and Thursday, 12.15pm in the Antenatal clinic.
Please ring in advance to confirm clinic availability.

Last updated: Monday, February 15, 2016

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